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SMU Business Families Institute Launches Commemorative Book On Business Families & Establishes V3 Group Professorship In Family Entrepreneurship

1 Aug 2018

27 Jul 2018

Singapore, 27 July 2018 (Friday) – As part of its fifth anniversary celebrations, Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Business Families Institute (BFI) today unveiled its commemorative book titled ‘The 4Gs of Family Business’, which showcases the stories of more than 30 families in Asia and beyond, some of which have never been shared publicly.  The Institute also celebrated the joyous occasion with the establishment of the V3 Group Professorship in Family Entrepreneurship at SMU, made possible by a generous endowed gift of $3 million from the V3 Group, an Asian luxury group in the lifestyle and wellness markets founded by Ron Sim.

The book ‘The 4Gs of Business Families’, produced with the support of Deloitte Private through a three-year research grant, was officially launched by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, who was the Guest-of-Honour at BFI’s anniversary gala dinner held at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore this evening.  It features interviews with 34 business families from 10 countries across the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the United States under the themes ‘Think Generations’, ‘Think Growth’, ‘Think Giving’ and ‘Think Global’.

Through close and intimate conversations with current and next-generation leaders of the family enterprises, this book offers a rare glimpse into the values, resilience and aspirations of many leading business families of Asia who, due to their reserved nature, tend to shun the spotlight and keep a low profile despite their highly significant contribution to the Asian economy.

[Photo: (L-R) Prof Annie Koh (SMU Vice President, Office of Business Development and Academic Director of SMU BFI); Prof Arnoud De Meyer (SMU President); Ms Grace Fu (Minister for Culture, Community and Youth); Mr Philip Yuen (CEO, Deloitte Southeast Asia); Ms Michelle Hartman (Partner, Deloitte Private) and Alan Beattie (Global Head of Private Wealth Solutions, HSBC Private Banking).]

The newly established V3 Group Professorship in Family Entrepreneurship aims to support research and programmes on best practices in family entrepreneurship, including areas such as (i) the creation of shared family values and effective succession planning; (ii) resource mobilisation (to encourage innovations and entrepreneurship in families), as well as (iii) family wealth management and investments.  The inaugural Professorship will be awarded to an outstanding SMU faculty to contribute to the development of family entrepreneurship through research, teaching and engagement with industry.

SMU President, Professor Arnoud De Meyer, said, “BFI represents SMU’s thriving partnership with local and international families, embedded in an international network of other organisations committed to work with and for business families.  I am very pleased to see that the Institute has come this far, with continuing strong support from many of the pioneer families.  Now that the centre of gravity of the world’s economic activity is moving to the East, we need to understand the specific challenges in succession, governance, or development of business families and family businesses in Asia.”

Commenting on the gift from V3 Group, he added, “This gift will strengthen BFI’s knowledge base and its research on issues pertinent to business families, thereby cementing BFI’s position as Southeast Asia’s pioneer regional business family-centric institute focused on addressing the needs of business families in the region.  We are deeply encouraged by V3 Group’s belief in SMU’s vision and mission, and its strong support towards our education and research.  We are grateful and look forward to continuing this longstanding and meaningful partnership with Mr Ron Sim and V3 Group.”

Mr Sim has been a Founding Family member of BFI since 2013.  He was also an advisory board member of the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business from September 2004 to December 2014, and had supported SMU Shirin Fozdar’s programme in empowering women entrepreneurship.


[Photos: SMU President, Prof De Meyer, addressing guests at the BFI 5th Anniversary Gala Dinner.]

Professor Annie Koh, SMU’s Vice President, Office of Business Development, and Academic Director of BFI, said, “BFI is very grateful to our Founding and Alliance Families, who have, from the beginning, believed in the immense value that such an Institute can bring to business families in the region and beyond.  This book is testament to the trust and confidence that they have placed in us.  It is also an important contribution to Asian-centric thought leadership that will serve to support business families in this critical time of generational transition.  I believe the personal stories shared in this book will resonate with both the founding/current generation leaders of business families and their next-generation, as they aspire to go further, do better and fly higher.”

“Today is a milestone for BFI.  I would also like to express my gratitude to many like-minded organisations, as well as generous donors, who have believed in and supported us whole-heartedly as we seek to build rich insights as well as share knowledge with our families over the past five years,” she added.

As part of BFI’s fifth anniversary celebrations, the Institute also organised a conference on 27 July 2018 that focuses on family entrepreneurship.  The conference is a platform for the academia and diverse families from Asia to discuss and share insights and experiences about planning for succession, embracing change, driving transformation and building sustainable family enterprises.

Looking ahead

BFI was set up in September 2012 to be an educational, engagement and research platform that brings together business families in Asia, and leverage the university’s experiences to help families deal with business family-specific challenges.

In the last five years, through the Institute’s three core offerings in the areas of Education, Engagement and Research, it has conducted close to 70 events (comprising Master Classes, Learning Journeys, Legacy Lessons, Knowledge Series, Future Series and Research Launches) with a total outreach of over 2,500 participants from various business families in Singapore and overseas.

Going forward, BFI plans to introduce a certificate programme on family business for SMU undergraduates.  This will enhance their understanding of family firms as they undertake impactful projects for the BFI members, working alongside the next-gen leaders and professional managers of the organisations.

In addition, the Institute will also launch an Entrepreneurship Series and work with partners on a Family Entrepreneurship Programme to develop the next-gen leadership of family firms.  It hopes to equip the latter with a strong understanding of how new business models can transform their family businesses, catalyst new enterprises, as well as enable them to better manage the financial resources and investments of the family enterprise.  A new series of modules focusing on the Family Governance and Stewardship in a time of transition will also be introduced.

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Media Contact:

Huang Peiling (Ms)

Senior Assistant Director, Corporate Communication

SMU Office of Corporate Communication & Marketing

Tel: 6828-0964 / Email:


 press release_SMU BFI launches book on business families & estb V3 Group Professorship in Family Entreprenuership.pdf

Annex 1_Synopsis_The 4Gs of Business Families.pdf

Speech by SMU President at Gala Dinner on 270718_for media.pdf

Last updated on 15 Aug 2018 .